Tag:Ben Sheets
Posted on: July 24, 2010 1:56 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 2:11 pm

Oakland's Sheets re-injures troubled elbow

The July trade market -- or, at the very least, Oakland's season -- has changed significantly: Athletics right-hander Ben Sheets has re-injured his troubled elbow, CBSSports.com has learned.

At the very least, Sheets will be placed on the 15-day disabled list. But a source close to Sheets says there is very real concern that the elbow has blown out again and that he is finished for the season.

The Athletics signed Sheets to a one-year, $10 million deal this season figuring that he either could help them contend in the AL West or, if not, he could become a valuable trade chip.

While the A's are in third place in the AL West at 48-48, currently 8 1/2 games behind first-place Texas, chatter around a Sheets trade has been increasing in recent starts.

Several scouts, notably from the Tigers and Phillies, have been in attendance at Sheets' recent outings. Though Sheets, who missed all of 2009 following elbow surgery, has not recaptured his one-time ace stuff from his Milwaukee days, he's been intriguing enough to allow contenders to imagine him helping them.

One scout who watched Sheets warm up in the bullpen before Monday's start said Sheets threw very few warm-up pitches. And scouts who have watched him recently say he has been very reluctant to throw his breaking pitches in games.

Over 20 starts in 2010, Sheets is 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA. He's worked 119 1/3 innings in 2010 and last started on Monday evening against Boston, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing the Red Sox two runs and seven hits, striking out two and walking two.

"He had no velocity but he adds and subtracts," one scout who was in attendance to see Sheets on Monday told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. "He threw only five pitches over 90 [m.p.h]. He was pitching at 86-88.

"He still competes, though. You know what he is? Right now, he's Freddy Garcia."

And, sadly, right now, he's not even that.

Posted on: April 5, 2010 2:38 pm

Early race for comeback player of year

Four key players are or will be on the field today who did not even make it for one game in 2009:

Jake Westbrook is Cleveland's opening day starter against the White Sox.

Shaun Marcum is Toronto's opening day starter against Texas.

Ben Sheets is Oakland's opening day starter tonight against Seattle.

And outfielder Jim Edmonds is in Milwaukee's opening day lineup today in place of right fielder Corey Hart. Edmonds just whiffed with Brewers on first and third in the first inning. But the Brewers have high hopes for him, think he looked great this spring and manager Ken Macha thinks he will get Edmonds at least 250 at-bats this year.

In Chicago, meanwhile, Westbrook surrendered two early runs (a two-run Paul Konerko homer) and is trailing 2-0 in the third.
Posted on: March 28, 2010 7:09 pm

A's juggle pitching as spring days dwindle

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The one thing Oakland figured was its best bet this spring was its pitching, and now look.

Justin Duchscherer surrendered 11 runs (eight earned) on nine hits in just three-plus innings in a Cactus League game against Kansas City on Saturday.

Ben Sheets was torched for 10 runs without even recording an out three outings ago.

Concern? Not so much. Both pitchers, coming back from a year layoff, continue to progress physically.

But what is a concern -- at least for the next 24 hours or so for manager Bob Geren -- is the shape of the A's bullpen. Which no doubt is why they signed veteran swingman Chad Gaudin -- who can start or relieve -- on Sunday.

Right-hander Michael Wuertz, one of the most underrated set-up men in the game last summer, was scratched from Sunday's scheduled Cactus League appearance against Colorado with a "tender" shoulder.

Meantime, closer Andrew Bailey and lefty reliever Craig Breslow each of whom has been stricken with elbow tendinitis and has missed the past several days, are slotted to return to the mound Monday against Seattle.

That's why Geren says his concern right now is over the next 24 hours. If Bailey and Breslow pass their tests Monday, it will be a boost as the A's continue to prepare for their April 5 opener against the Mariners.

As for Wuertz, whose 102 strikeouts in 2009 led AL relievers, that will not be decided over the next 24 hours. Wuertz, who appeared in 74 games last summer, well could open the season on the disabled list at this point.

All this, and it's fortunate Sheets and Duchscherer are in such good shape, right?

Duchscherer, the latest of the duo to get hammered, shrugged it off Sunday.

"Numbers-wise, you don't like that, but physically I felt good and that's more important than anything," said Duchscherer. "My fastball was 83-84 early, and that's five miles off from normal. And I gave up a couple of hits in counts where normally I wouldn't throw fastballs."

Duchscherer, who suffered from elbow pain and then was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2009, causing him to miss the entire season, was happy with the fact that he threw 86 pitches on Saturday and then felt better Sunday than he did following his previous outing.

Sheets, meantime, didn't throw a pitch in '09 following elbow surgery. He's already been named by Geren as Oakland's Opening Day starter -- though a buzz swept through the baseball land following his 10-run appearance a couple of weeks ago with folks wondering if he was hurt again.

"Aw, that just means a lot of people are rooting for me," Sheets said Sunday. "A lot of people care."

Sheets said he historically has struggled in the spring because he has a hard time focusing. But, as is the case with Duchscherer, he's encouraged that he feels good physically.

"There are some days that are definitely better than others," Sheets said. "I'm trying to get my fastball going. If I can get the right downhill tilt, and locate and throw strikes. ...

"I think I'm going to be OK if I can locate my heater. I think I'm going to get better throughout the year."

So, too, do the A's think that -- about Sheets, about Duchscherer, about their bullpen and about themselves.

Sunblock Day: Little cool in the morning, but gorgeous, 70-some degree day in the desert Sunday.

Likes: Eric Chavez, Oakland's six-time Gold Glove-winning third baseman, is loving his switch to first base this spring. So far, so good with both his back and shoulder. Chavez and the A's are optimistic that he can stay in the lineup at first this year. Chavez says he has only cut loose with about six throws this spring, saving his shoulder as best he can until the regular season. ... There are always silver linings, and here is Ben Sheets' after missing the 2009 season: "It was a long year, but it was a fulfilling year as a dad, being around my kids for the whole summer." Sheets has two boys: Seaver, 7, and Miller, 3. And yes, they're named after Hall of Famer Tom Seaver and after Miller Park in Milwaukee, where Sheets worked for so long. ... Love Bill Raftery as a college hoops announcer. ... Those Southwest Airlines commercials advertising their bags flying free. The one with the men and the older lady on the plane is annoying, but the rest are very clever. ... Gran Torino, the outstanding Clint Eastwood flick, on HBO late the other night in my hotel room. ... Havana Café in Phoenix.

Dislikes: What are we going to do this week with no NCAA games until Saturday? What an incredible, incredible tournament.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Top coat, top hat
"I don't worry cuz my wallet's fat
"Black shades, white gloves
"Lookin' sharp, and lookin' for love
"They come runnin' just as fast as they can
"Cuz every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man"

-- ZZ Top, Sharp-Dressed Man

Posted on: February 5, 2009 2:48 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2009 2:54 pm

Sheets expects to have surgery soon

Ben Sheets, the injury-plagued, free-agent starting pitcher, is expected to undergo elbow surgery and be sidelined for four to six months, according to CBSSports.com sources.

The surgery, to repair Sheets' partially torn flexor tendon, is expected to be performed by noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. A source with knowledge of the situation said that Sheets is not expected to undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.

Still, the elbow surgery likely will keep Sheets on the sidelines until August, or later. The right-hander was prepared to undergo surgery this week, according to sources, but those plans hit a snag over insurance issues and who would pay for it.

Sheets' agent, Casey Close, could not be reached for comment, but sources say that he maintains Milwaukee should pay for the surgery since the injury stems from his time with the Brewers. While that dispute is resolved, Sheets now hopes to have the surgery next week, sources say.

The news comes late in a winter that Sheets and many other free agents have found to be exceptionally cold, and it helps explain why several conversations between the right-hander and the Texas Rangers have yet to evolve into a contract.

Talks between the Rangers and Sheets reached an impasse within the past several days, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. The two sides were close to agreement on a two-year deal, according to a major-league source, but they already had concerns regarding the right-handers' checkered health history. It is believed that the physical examination revealed the tear and caused the Rangers to scotch the deal.

Sheets' elbow became sore last September during a season in which the right-hander worked 198 innings -- his highest total since 2004. But he came up lame down the stretch and surrendered 10 runs and 15 hits in just over 10 innings of his final three starts. He was unable to pitch in Milwaukee's first-round playoff series loss to Philadelphia.

Since 2001, Sheets, 30, has spent time on the disabled list with right rotator cuff tendinitis, a severe inner-ear infection, a torn back muscle, a right shoulder strain, tendinitis in his right shoulder and a sprained right middle finger.

In eight seasons with the Brewers, Sheets has compiled an 86-83 career record with a 3.72 ERA. When he's healthy, Sheets has the stuff of a staff ace. But staying healthy has been his biggest challenge.

Sheets was 13-9 with a 3.01 ERA in 31 starts for the Brewers in 2008 and was the National League's starting pitcher in the All-Star Game. He also earned $11 million in the final season of a four-year, $38.5 million deal.

The Brewers offered him arbitration in December and, had he accepted, he likely would have gotten a raise from that $11 million for 2009. However, while Sheets' departure saved the Brewers some money, news of his likely impending surgery before he signed a free agent contract will cost Milwaukee draft picks. The Brewers were to receive two compensatory picks from the team signing Sheets.

Posted on: December 10, 2008 10:29 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2008 4:56 am

Burnett, Lowe on deck after Sabathia

LAS VEGAS -- The expectation is, with CC Sabathia now off the board, the path is cleared for other pitchers to begin signing. And right-handers A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe are in prime position to move quickly.

Negotiations intensified Wednesday for each of them, according to sources with knowledge of the talks, so much so that either -- or both -- could sign soon.

The New York Yankees are in hard on both, which could make life miserable for the Atlanta Braves where Burnett is concerned. The Braves arrived at these meetings with the intention of doing everything they could to sign the right-hander, according to a person with knowledge of Atlanta's thinking.

But the Yankees are pushing hard enough with a five-year offer, according to a person close to the talks, that it could hike the salary beyond the Braves' capability. Burnett is expected to command somewhere between $16 and $17 million a season, which might result in four years in the $64-$68 million range or five years in the $80-$85 million range.

The Braves were at four years for Burnett and reluctant to go to a fifth year, which could leave Burnett with a decision of whether to take a shorter term deal (four years) worth a little more money per year or a longer term deal (five years) worth a little less money per year but more money overall.

Early Thursday morning, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said that Burnett has reduced the field of interested teams down to three -- the Yankees, the Braves and Toronto.

Burnett exercised his opt-out clause to escape from a five-year, $55 million deal with Toronto at season's end. He was three years and $31 million in at the time.

Darek Braunecker, Burnett's agent, has always believed he could command a five-year deal for Burnett, though the opening bidding started at four years. Braunecker agreed that Sabathia's agreement should break the current logjam, but said he couldn't pinpoint how quickly the market will free up.

"It's hard to say," Braunecker said here Wednesday. "Obviously, that's kind of an important piece to determine what the market will bear and who remains in the mix and where the money could be headed. It's probably beneficial."

With the average annual value (AAV) of the Sabathia contract at $23 million a year, Burnett, Lowe and perhaps Ben Sheets would slot in accordingly. The New York Yankees and Texas have expressed interest in Sheets.

Meantime, even though the Yankees bumped Sabathia's deal up to seven years and $161 million from their original offer of six years and $140 million, the AAV is less. In the six-year offer, it was $23.3 million.

What does that mean? Well, for one thing, the Yankees, according to sources, remain interested in signing two more starting pitchers even after bagging Sabathia. And their resources still seem strong. The Yankees told Braunecker that Sabathia was completely separate from Burnett, who will turn 32 next month, and that one was not related to the other in negotiations.

"We've known all along that they intended to sign CC and another pitcher," Braunecker said. "The deals were always independent of each other."

Meantime, Atlanta was far down the path in talks with Burnett before Wednesday afternoon, when the Braves believe the Yankees increased their offer to five years.

Could there be a resolution with Burnett by, say, the end of the night?

"Anything is possible if the right deal presents itself," Braunecker said.

Lowe, aside from the Yankees, is being courted by Philadelphia and the New York Mets, and if they fail to land Burnett, the Braves could turn their attention Lowe's way. Boston also has expressed interest in Lowe, but the Red Sox right now have other priorities.

Lowe, 35, has some interest in returning to Boston, said a source with knowledge of his thinking, but it is not a priority for him. Meantime, despite the Los Angeles Dodgers' casting about for starting pitching, Lowe has no interest in returning there.

Regarding whether Sabathia's arrival would make the Yankees more attractive for Lowe or any other player, Scott Boras, his agent, said, "I think it gives payers more of a road map as to where the Yankees are going. If I was a baseball player and one team had CC Sabathia on it, that would be very welcome."

Posted on: September 26, 2008 5:33 pm

Sheets to start Saturday; Hardy in lineup

MILWAUKEE -- No guarantees how the rest of this ginormous weekend will go for the Brewers but, just hours after Ryan Braun's stunning walk-off grand slam against Pittsburgh, they were boosted by interim manager Dale Sveum's decision that Ben Sheets will start Saturday afternoon's game against the Cubs.

So count Sheets' status as having been upgraded from needing a "small miracle" to miracle occurred.

It was only Thursday when things were so pessimistic around Sheets that Sveum said it would take a "small miracle" for the right-hander who hasn't pitched for 10 days after leaving a game in Chicago with a sore elbow to actually appear in a game this weekend.

What changed?

"He said he's feeling as good as he has in a month," Sveum said, noting that Sheets is "very optimistic."

Tied with the New York Mets for the NL wild-card lead, Milwaukee each game against the Cubs this weekend is must-win as the Brewers attempt to reach the postseason for the first time since 1982.

An effective Sheets could go a long way in making that happen. Sveum said the right-hander will pitch as long as he "is effective", meaning, the pitching-desperate Brewers now view him as healthy enough to not keep him on a short pitch count limit.

Sveum said that he has zero doubt about Sheets' readiness.

What convinced him?

"The look in his face," Sveum said. "The ability for him to look you straight in the face and say, 'I feel fine.' That's good enough for me."

The Brewers dodged another injury-related issue Friday as well when shortstop J.J. Hardy's sore left thumb checked out well enough for him to be listed in the starting lineup.

Hardy suffered a minor injury in -- get this -- the wild celebration following Braun's game-winning, ninth-inning home run Thursday. An internet report Thursday morning generated by a fan posting something on a blog caused a stir all over Milwaukee, with word that the Brewers may have lost their shortstop.

They haven't -- for now -- though the entire thing remains mysterious. Hardy says he has no idea how it happened.

"We were on the field jumping around, and I don't know what happened," Hardy said. "I was like, 'Ow, my thumb. What the hell was that?'"

Milwaukee trainers looked at it Thursday night and again Friday afternoon, and he had treatment on it. The other bizarre aspect was that Hardy said he made sure to stay on the perimeter of the celebration Thursday night.

"I was on my feet the whole time, and I was outside of the pile," Hardy said. "I'm kind of scared of those situations. When I was 13 or 14, I hit my first walk-off home run ever in Pony League, and I came in and jumped on home plate like everyone does and I sprained an ankle and was out for two weeks."


Category: MLB
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